This article is written with the help of our team member, Yvette, who successfully got her UK tourist visa twice to meet her British Fiance!
So you’ve been in a long distance relationship for a while now. You see each other twice a year or more often than that if you’re lucky. He comes over to the Philippines to meet your family and yes you’ve met his family too-- only it’s via video call. The question is when will you ever get to see them in person? It’s either they all come over to meet you somewhere in the world or you go through that tedious UK visa application.
Well, let me correct that. It’s not as tedious as you think it is as long as you have the complete set of requirements. Don’t worry, I’m here to help! This comprehensive guide is all based on
Yvette’s personal experience. If you’ve been following my post, she’s my lovely VA and she’s engaged to a wonderful British guy! She just got her visa approved and she’s soon flying to the UK to be with him again (it’s her 2nd time there)! Yay!! :)
WHO CAN BE YOUR SPONSOR?
To start this guide, a sponsor can be anyone who is a legal resident in the UK be it your family, friend, or bf/gf. It is not required that he/she is British as long as he/she can provide proof that he is a legal resident.
WHAT VISA DO YOU NEED?
Click here to find out. All you have to do is click your nationality and your purpose of traveling to the UK. For purposes of this post, I’ll be discussing the process of getting the Standard Visitor Visa :)
WHEN AND WHERE TO GET YOUR UK VISA
The regular processing for a tourist visa is 15 working days but you can apply as early as 3 months before your intended flight. This can be done through VFS Global Philippines either in VFS Manila at Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave Ext, Makati City or VFS Cebu at 503 Keppel Building, Cardinal Rosales Avenue Cor Samar Loop, Cebu City.
Application submission is from Monday to Friday, 07:00 - 14:00 (prior appointment is mandatory). Application submission with Prime Time Appointment (which is only offered in Manila) is from Monday to Thursday 06:00 – 07:00. Pick up Time is from Monday to Friday 14:00 – 16:00.
COMPLETE LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR THE APPLICANT
Just because you have a sponsor, this doesn’t mean you have to slack off. Galaw galaw tayo dyan! :p Having a sponsor doesn’t guarantee visa approval so you have to provide as much proof as you can that you are financially capable to travel and that you do not have any reason to overstay in their country. It is not mandatory to submit these documents except for the first one but it is highly encouraged.
1) Copy of passport biodata page**
2) Proof of financial capacity. This includes bank statement and bank certificate, land/condominium titles, car registration, etc.
3) Proof of employment. Certificate of Employment, payslips, etc.
4) Cover letter. State the reason why you want to go to the UK, how long you’re staying, who is paying for your trip, your relationship with him/her, what you’re doing in the Philippines, etc. Your cover letter must be able to show them that you have no reason to overstay in their country and that you/your sponsor/both of you are capable of financing your trip.
5) Proof of relationship with the sponsor. If you’re a couple, you can submit photos of you together. If he/she is your parent, then you can submit your birth certificate.
COMPLETE LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FROM YOUR SPONSOR
Since you’ll need the help of your sponsor with your application, some documents can only be provided by him. Ask him to send these documents via email:
1) Invitation letter. This should contain the following details: your relationship, that he is inviting you to the UK, the duration, that you will stay at his place and that he will pay for your finances while you’re there, how much he/she is making, his/her address and the list of documents that he is going to provide.
2) Proof of identity. This includes a copy of passport, valid IDs, and/or birth certificate.
4) Proof of financial capacity. This includes bank statement and/or pay slips.
6) Proof of address. This could be any billing statement.
STEP 1: Complete all the requirements as stated above. Everything should be printed or copied on an A4 size paper and should not be stapled. A barcode separator and a checklist will be provided on your online application as provided in Step 2. Print this and put it in between the different set of requirements. (You should follow the order stated in the checklist)
STEP 2: Create an account at AccessUK. Answer all the required fields completely and truthfully. A copy of the form will be sent to your email and is needed to be printed out for the appointment.
STEP 3: Pay your visa fee. The payment will be done online after filling out all the required fields. This can be paid via Mastercard or Visa.
STEP 3: Set your appointment online at VFS Global.
STEP 4: Go to VFS Global for your appointment. Be there at least 15 minutes before your schedule. Keep a black pen handy and make sure you have ALL the required documents and another valid ID. All you have to do there is submit your documents and take the biometrics.
STEP 5: Pray for your visa to be approved! You can either pick it up or wait for it to be delivered if you opted for the courier service. As for Yvette, she was able to get a Multiple Entry Visa which is valid for 180 days :)
1) I forgot to submit some documents. Can I still submit them after my appointment?
No. Once your appointment is done, you cannot give any more documents unless they specifically ask for it. This is the reason why you have to triple check everything before setting your appointment.
2) How should the document be presented?
All documents must be A4 size. Any documents which are smaller or larger than A4 size, must be photocopied onto A4 sized paper-- this includes the pages of any previous passports. All documents must be free from any staples, clips or pins before they are submitted. Torn, crumpled or heavily creased documents cannot be scanned and therefore must be photocopied onto A4 sized paper before they are submitted.
3) Will they give me back the original documents in case I submitted some?
Yes but make sure to put a label if it’s original or photocopies. You’ll get it back together with your passport.
4) How much is the visa fee?
The standard visitor visa which is valid for 6 months is 120 USD or more or less 7,500 Php. If you’re staying longer, then you have to pay more.
5) What if my visa gets denied?
You can start a fresh application anytime. Remember, it is not recommended that you start a new application unless there’s a “significant change” in your financial, family, or economic condition but I can mentor you on what to do.
6) Is the visa fee refundable?
No. And that stands true despite being rejected.